Posts Tagged ‘NCDD2008’

The Central Texas Planning Team for the NCDD2008 Conference is smokin’. I mean they are all over the place! They are canvasing Austin to promote the conference, solicit sponsorships, enlist volunteer support, encourage workshop leaders, attract bookstores, solicit donations, recruit media partners, and whatever else it will take to make the NCDD conference in Austin this October, the very best one EVER!

Here are some details:

NCDD Austin will take place October 3rd through 5th, 2008 – with pre-conference workshops on the 2nd and a 2-day training opportunity on the 6th and 7th!

Update: Registration and workshop applications are now live! Look over the opportunities to lead workshops, innovation sessions and networking topics and consider what you might want to contribute to the conference. And register now, while the early bird rate of only $300 (!) is in effect.

If you have never been to an NCDD Conference (they only happen every two years, so you don’t want to miss this one!) check out this video:

OK, so are you convinced that this is the place to be October 3-5? Then register here and do it soon so you’ll get that early registration rate of $300 good until May 16.

And if you are really sold and want to tell your friends about the conference, here is a sample invitation you can use! Copy text from below of our invitations – light and fun or generic – and paste it into your e-mail, blog, or web site. (If you twitter, you can reference the NCDD Conference web site using this tiny url: http://tinyurl.com/28778j

Light and Fun Invitation

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation Conference is coming to Austin, October 3-5 and I’m on the Central Texas Planning Team for this exciting event. I’m volunteering my time because I deeply believe that helping people change the way they talk about difficult issues is one of the most powerful ways to create change in our society.

People who have attended this conference say it’s the most engaging, meaningful conference they’ve ever attended.

I hope I’ve sparked your curiosity and you’ll want to learn more about the conference at the NCDD Website: http://www.thataway.org

I also invite you to contact me directly for more information.

I hope you will join us at this event!

Generic Invitation

Save the Date
October 3-5, 2008
National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation Conference
Renaissance Hotel, Austin

Do you want to…
… put your hope for democracy into action?
… learn practical approaches to engage tough issues and conflicts?
… stretch your perspectives and network with others who value the same?

If I’ve sparked your curiosity, click on the link below to learn more about the conference we’ll all be talking about for years to come! (

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Web Site: http://www.thataway.org

Come join hundreds of people who believe that solutions to our world’s toughest problems CAN be found by talking and working together.

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The participants in the small groups at the Central Texas D&D Summit had almost forty-five minutes to share the lessons and insights they have gained during the course of their dialogue and deliberation work.

Steven Fearing set up the groups with the following comments.

  • This meeting is not a workshop on dialogue and deliberation techniques. Instead it is an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to document what we have done and learned. More importantly, we want to build relationships and find out how we can work together in the future.
  • You will be working in small groups at five tables
  • Each table has a facilitator
  • You have a template prepared by Sunni where you can capture in words and pictures from your group’s dialogue.
  • You will have 45 minutes for this portion and should feel free to take breaks as needed
  • Goal for our time in these small groups is to share and capture key learning, insights, and challenges related to dialogue and deliberation in community work.
  • After 45 minutes, we will come together to capture common themes – such as assets and resources, challenges and opportunities. Sunni will help us integrate all of the ideas we discuss in our groups and chart on our templates into a graphic narrative.

Each group had a beautiful graphic map drawn by Sunni Brown where they could capture their insights. The groups were lightly facilitated by Rod Reyna, Susan Schultz, Tobin Quereau, and Mary Thompson. The facilitators charged the participants:

  • Think of a time when you brought people together to work on an issue or community problem. What lessons have you learned about using dialogue and deliberation for helping people work together? These may be lessons you learned from your successes or things you learned that you would do differently.
  • Think also about challenges you have faced and what you would like to do better, and
  • What else do you need to be more effective in using dialogue and deliberation in your work with communities?

Here are the results of their small group dialogue:

Yellow Group

yellow group

Susan Schultz, Neil Meili, Stephanie Nestlerode, Steve Swanson, Lindsay LeBlanc

Blue Group


Mary Thompson, Ed Sharpe, Margaret Valenti, Robyn Emerson, Oliver Markley, Patricia Wilson

Red Group


Tobin Quereau, Ann Brudno, Jenny Meigs, Tom Moran, Landon Shultz, Mike Aaron, Leilani Rose

Green Group


Rod Reyna, Sherry Lowry, Robena Jackson, Cathey Capers, Juli Fellows, Steven Fearing

As the participants described their templates, Sunni captured their themes:


Prior to the reporting out and reflection, Erin Kreeger and Taylor Willingham had a charge for the group:

As you listen to the groups’ posting their templates, listen for assets and opportunities. Think about the opportunities that you identified in this room that will help you in your work. Perhaps you identified asset or opportunities that involve:

  • Connecting with someone else in this room or someone who needs to be part of this community
  • Participation in an event or activity
  • Contributing your expertise or resources

Make note of the ideas as they come to you. After every group describes their template we will have time for collective reflection that Sunni will capture for us in graphic form.

Here are some of the opportunities the group identified to connect:


In keeping with our spirit of reflection and “continuous improvement” (that term is here for Charles’ benefit!) Charles Knickerbocker led us in a period of reflection on the meeting. He asked them what worked and what did we need more of. Here’s what the group had to say:

what worked

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[Cross posted]

The recent Public Library Association Conference featured a session titled, “The Dangerous Ideas”. The idea behind the session was to stimulate a conversation about adaptation and change by posing the question, “What if…?”

The presenters began by introducing Ten Dangerous Ideas:

1. What if we stopped cataloging?
2. What if we participated fully with the FBI in all criminal investigations that involved the use of library resources?
3. What if librarians individually and as a profession promoted, used and helped to develop Wikipedia?
4. What if we accepted open source software as a way of being more in control of the customer experience?
5. What if we embraced our iner geek and created immersive games that prompted cults of library junkies?
6. What if we required all library staff to have expertise using technology?
7. What if mistakes were expected and embraced and all librarians became mistake masters?
8. What if we didn’t make decisions based on fear or scarcity?
9. What if we stopped being passive/aggressive?
10. What if we didn’t make our customers work so hard?

I did not attend this session, but have been following the aftermath on the Transforming Texas Libraries Blog and the Web Junction Blog. Some of the provocative questions raised and documented on the Web Junction Blog are:

What if librarians would promote and participate in the development of Wikipedia?
What if we made decisions that are not based on scarcity?
What if libraries large and small invest together to adopt open source solutions?
What if teens in the library were our partners instead of our problem?
What if we learned to advertise the allure of libraries as successfully as soft drinks and junk food?

This discussion is continuing on “whatiflibs” wiki posted on wetpaint, a very easy to use wiki.

The question, “What if?” calls upon us to use our imagination and to push our thinking into uncomfortable territory.

Recognizing this, the presenters had follow-up questions for the workshop participants:

  • Why does this thought make me uncomfortable?
  • What are the opportunities in this idea?
  • What actions can be taken to pursue the opportunities?

I teach Change Management and Civic Entrepreneurship to graduate library students. I thrive on uncomfortable thoughts because that is where opportunities hide. Too many people retreat when confronted with uncomfortable thoughts. We don’t like ambiguity. We may feel threatened. We may feel insecure about what change will demand from us. But all of these are just the flip side of opportunity.

I’m sorry I missed this workshop. I would love to see this thinking brought into the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference taking place in Austin, TX October 3-5, 2008. The conversation starter could be a “What if…” related to the D&D community or democracy itself and how D&D impacts democracy.

How about it D&D-ers? Are we ready for some Dangerous Ideas?

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I am pleased to accept the NCDD nomination to the national board of directors. It’s a pretty humbling invitation and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding organization. My fellow board members listed with titles on our facebook group page are:

Leah Lamb (San Francisco, CA)
Queen of Arts-Based Dialogue
Priya Parker (UVA)
Coordinator of NCDD Mentorship Program
Tim Bonnemann (Silicon Valley, CA)
Online D&D Extraordinaire
Sandy Heierbacher (Harrisburg, PA)
Queen of all things D&D
Tokz Awoshakin (Dayton, OH)
Director of the African Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation
Avril Orloff (Vancouver, BC)
Deputy Minister for Colourful Dialogue
Leanne Nurse (Washington, DC)
Taylor L Willingham
Director of Building Excitement about Technology and Libraries
Lars Hasselblad Torres (Burlington, VT)
King of Peace Tiles and Deliberation Research
Windy Lawrence (Houston Downtown)
Networking Coordinator for NCDD 2008

I look forward to working with this group and the hundreds of volunteers – dozens right here in Central Texas! – working on the national conference to be held in Austin October 3-5. Stay tuned for more details.

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